The Trouble with Priests and Boys
Once a year, Jesus’s parents would take him to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Bread Without Yeast. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they took him to Jerusalem as usual, and they had a lovely time until the very last day of the festival.
Joseph had stopped at tool merchant’s stall and was eyeing a set of chisels. Mary, who had been off buying food for the journey, returned to find him haggling with the merchant over the price.
‘What the gosh golly are you doing?’ she fumed to her husband.
Joseph turned to look at her and barked, ‘I’m trying to get this prick to give me a fair price on these chisels!’
‘But I got you a brand-new set just last Hanukkah!’ chided Mary.
‘Yes, but this one comes with a special awl for piercing your male slave’s ear!’
‘You already have a bleeping awl!’
‘But… this one matches the set!’ whined her husband.
Mary looked at the price tag and yelled, ‘Twenty mummy-fudging shekels? We could buy a goat for that price!’
‘Exactly,’ retorted Joseph. ‘That’s why I’m haggling!’
‘Look, it’s already noon, and we have to set off now if we’re going to reach Shechem before nightfall.’
43 While his parents were arguing, Jesus spotted a priest with a lollipop and some balloons beckoning to him, and he sneaked away. 44 And so, Mary and Joseph, still engrossed in their squabble, left the city, not releasing that their son wasn’t with them.
45 They were taking a rest stop in Bethel, when Mary said to her husband, ‘I’ve got a terrible feeling that we’ve forgotten something.’
‘Don’t change the subject!’ spat Joseph.
‘No, seriously. There’s definitely something missing…’
Joseph sighed and asked, ‘Did you forget to close the stable before we left home?’
‘No, that’s not it…’ replied Mary. She thought for a moment and then exclaimed, ‘Jesus!’
46 After three days searching everywhere between Jerusalem and Bethel, they decided to go to the temple to pray. There in the temple courtyard, they spotted Jesus sitting with the rabbis, asking them questions.
47 When the rabbis saw the couple enter, one of them ran over to them and said, ‘Are you the boy’s parents?’
‘Yes,’ replied Mary and Joseph.
‘Thank fuck for that!’ exclaimed the rabbi. ‘The little shit keeps asking the most irritating questions!’
‘Oh, like what?’
‘Well, he asked, “If Moses wrote the Torah, why does it say in Deuteronomy 34:6 say that nobody knows where his grave is to this day?” and, “Why does 2 Samuel 19 say that Elhanan slayed Goliath when 1 Samuel 17:50 says that David did?”’
‘Yeah,’ snorted Joseph, ‘he does that.’
48 Mary rushed over to her son and wailed, ‘Jesus H Christ! Why have you done this to us? We were worried sick about you!’
49 ‘But, Mum,’ whinged Jesus, ‘the priest had sweets! Besides, I was in my father’s house.’
‘Joseph’s your father!’ objected Mary.
50 ‘He’s not my real dad!’
‘Who the hello kitty told you that you were adopted?’
51 And so, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth with Jesus who didn’t say a word the whole way. 52 Mary was glad that her son was safe, but Joseph was really growing concerned about what a wise arse he was becoming.